Rain control was a critical component of African farming life and was generally the task of specialists who appealed to supernatural forces in an effort to ensure that the right kind of rain fell at appropriate times. As a last resort in times of severe drought, rainmakers would perform special ceremonies on carefully selected, steep-sided hilltops. Natural rock cisterns, drilled cupules, and granary and faunal remains on hilltops form some of the evidence for rainmaking. Significantly, Mapungubwe hill (see The Mapungubwe period) was earlier used as a rainmaking hill. By 1250 the king was living within a walled palace on the hilltop. It is probable that by this time he had become solely responsible for rainmaking in the kingdom and that he did this by appealing to God through his ancestors. Rainfall and the consequent good fortune of the kingdom thus depended on his relationship with God. In this sense, he was the first sacred leader in southern Africa.